I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone (Book Review)

Emily Black grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, but she knows that’s not where she belongs. She was born to the two most music-loving parents there could  be. They were rebels who ran away from the small town on a motorcycle. However, when they got to the city, Emily’s mother, Louisa, realized that her only love in life was music, so she left to follow her dreams.

This left Emily with her father, who moved them back to their small town. Emily found a kindred soul in Regan, Louisa’s best friend’s daughter. Together with Regan’s older sister, they drank, smoked, and snuck out to the abandoned warehouse turned nightclub called River’s Edge. It is there that Emily gets on stage for the first time to perform with her band in the hopes that her mother will come to find her if her band gets big enough.

“I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” follows Emily as she struggles with show business in the big city and Louisa as she travels across America in search of work and music. She has to learn to deal with letting people close to her and the guilt of leaving her daughter across the country.

Overall, I really loved this book. As a girl growing up in a small town with different opinions and music taste than most of the people around me, I felt for Emily. The book was extremely realistic in that sense, and while I was reading I truly wanted to enter Emily’s world and live my life with her.

I could tell that the author, Stephanie Kuehnert, knew what it’s like to grow up in a small town as an outsider. I could also tell that she knew good music. Each chapter begins with a song lyric from a punk rock band, and even the book, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” is named after the song by Sleater-Kinney, an all-female punk rock band.

In conclusion, if you like punk rock music and you grew up in a small town as where you didn’t fit in, I would recommend this book.

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